Dell's Venue 11 Pro may be the Win8.1 convertible I've been waiting for


— 6:00 AM on October 3, 2013

Cyril already wrote about Dell's new tablets and notebooks, but he totally glossed over the coolest one. The Venue 11 Pro looks a lot like the do-everything convertible I've been waiting for.

It's the little details that impress me the most. Dell has endowed the system with loads of connectivity, including a microSD slot and a full-sized USB 3.0 port. According to Wired, the tablet has dual digital display outputs, allowing it to power a pair of external screens. The Verge says there will also be a corporate-focused model with a fingerprint sensor, SmartCard reader, and TPM module.

In what I believe may be a first for tablets, the Venue 11 has a removable battery. The quoted run times look pretty good, too: 11 hours for the Bay Trail-based model and eight hours for the Core i5-equipped variant.

Ars' coverage reveals that the Bay Trail version measures 0.4" thick, while its Haswell counterpart is a slightly pudgier 0.6". The former reportedly weighs 1.6 lbs, but there's no weight quoted for the latter, which is probably a bit heavier.

The Venue's 10.8", 1080p display doesn't set any PPI records. It's a nice step up from 1366x768, though, and text should look pretty good with ClearType smoothing things out.

Then there's the convertible bit. Dell offers a couple of keyboard accessories, including one with an auxiliary battery that reportedly boosts run times by 80%. It looks like that keyboard features a Transformer-style docking mechanism that should make the clamshell easy to perch on your lap. There's a desk-mounted docking station, too, and an optional stylus based on pressure-sensitive tech from Synaptics.

The Venue 11 Pro is slated to start at $500, which gets you the Atom Z3770 Scott tested along with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of flash storage. The Atom-based model tops out at 64GB, but you'll be able to add up to 256GB of storage to the Core i5 variant. That version will be available with up to 8GB of RAM and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, there's no word on how much the Haswell configs will cost. Dell hasn't announced pricing for the keyboard dock, either, but it definitely has my attention.

When Asus announced its Transformer T100 convertible, I pined for a slightly more upscale version. The Venue 11 Pro looks like it might fit the bill, at least in a utilitarian sense; hands-on impressions of the plastic body don't describe a premium feel. Still, if this is the direction Windows convertibles are heading, we could be in for an exciting crop of two-in-one devices.

   
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